PITTSBURG — Gerald A. Finch, 96, of Pittsburg, a former longtime Parsons resident, died Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2011, at the Via Christi Village in Pittsburg. He had lived in Pittsburg the past six years.
He was born April 1, 1915, at Chicago the first of six children of George C. and Myrle L. (Dunwoody) Finch. He grew up in Iroquois, Ill., and graduated from the nearby Donovan (Ill.) High School in 1933. After graduation he moved to Parsons to live with his mother’s twin sister, Mrs. E.L. (Myrtle) Hucke, and to attend Parsons Junior College, from which he graduated in 1935.
His first job after graduating from junior college was as a dairy heard improvement tester for the four northeast counties in Kansas. A year later he returned to Parsons and began employment with the Meadow Gold Dairy, delivering milk house to house in a stand up drive truck and horse and wagon.
On Jan. 14, 1942, he began employment with the Katy Railroad as a switchman, a job he held until retiring in July 1975.
He married Eugenia (Gene) R. Shears on Dec. 20, 1936, in Parsons. They were the parents of four children and she died on May 20, 1980. Later he married Veneta Morrey and she preceded him in death in 1994. Later marriages were to Marie Kelsey and to Maxine McGuire, who both preceded him in death.
Gerald had a long, active involvement in church and civic activities. He was active in the Methodist Church, beginning with the former Washington Avenue Church, later the Wesley United Methodist Church and finally as a member of the First United Methodist Church in Pittsburg. He served in many capacities of committee service in the Parsons churches and as a member of the building committee of the Wesley Church. For 19 years he taught the Criterion Sunday school class at Wesley Church. He had served on the board of directors for Friendly Acres in Newton, an adult care center connected with the Methodist Church.
His volunteer work in Boy Scouts spanned more than 59 years. He had been a Cub Scout leader, scoutmaster, committee chairman, district chairman for eight counties and editor for a district newsletter called “The Peace Pipe” for several years. He was presented the Silver Beaver Award, the highest honor that can be given to an adult scouter.
For 14 years he was chairman of the Labette County Chapter of the American Red Cross blood program. For 13 years he was secretary-treasurer of the United Transportation Union. He was a coordinator and volunteer driver for the Meals on Wheels program in Parsons for 15 years. He held several offices in the Labette County A.A.R.P. chapter and for several years was co-chairman of its tour committee, planning and coordinating monthly trips for members.
He was a stamp collector for many years and a woodworker, making several baby beds and other items for family members. In the early 1960s he hosted Japanese foreign exchange student Ayako Shinoto, now of Whittier, Calif. She and the Finch family have remained close throughout the years.
In 1976 he was awarded the Cardinal Citation by the Labette Community College, honoring his long service as a volunteer in many areas.
Survivors include four children, Allen Finch of Towson, Md., Doris Kennedy of Richardson, Texas, Jane Wells of North Liberty, Iowa, and Carol Hornback of Pittsburg; seven grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.
Also preceding him in death were a brother, Donald Finch; and four sisters, Alice McCormick, Mildred Allen, Dorothy Weidenbach and Florence Johnson.
A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 7, at Wesley United Methodist Church in Parsons. Burial was at Memorial Lawn Cemetery in Parsons.
Memorials are suggested to Wesley United Methodist Church Boy Scout Troop No. 33. They may be left at or sent to the funeral home at P.O. Box 942, Parsons, 67357.
Online condolences may be left at www.wallfuneralservices.com